Issue #39

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Issue 39—January 1, 1976 to February 27, 1976


In this issue, Krishnaji sees the good of his spending more time in Ojai, which necessitates the expansion of Pine Cottage; the planning for which begins.

We also see the plans for an adult center at Ojai becoming firmer, and although it turns out to be a false start, it is interesting as much of the thinking about it would find expression in the first adult center at Brockwood a decade later.

In this issue we also have another small addition to the discussions about “the face.”

There is also the intriguing interest that Krishnaji has in “redeeming” the two people who most wronged him in his life.


The Memoirs of Mary Zimbalist: Issue 39

Mary: January first, 1976. Krishnaji was in Malibu, not having gone to India that year. ‘A new year, a new diary. It began in the quiet joy of Krishnaji’s presence. His face was the first thing I saw; and his voice spoke the first words of the new year. Then, we each did exercises separately, as usual, but made breakfast together, and played a new record of Gregorian chants. It was a quiet clear morning. One of the Dunne girls lunched with us. In the afternoon, on awakening from his nap, he and I washed the grey Mercedes. It is cold today. My fingers grew numb inside the rubber gloves. We walked over to Amanda and Phil Dunne’s to wish them a Happy New Year. All their three daughters were there, and also David—a friend of theirs. Krishnaji thought that Amanda looked unwell, withdrawn. Was she in pain? I asked her later. She said, “No, only a bit tired.”’

S: Now, just to ask a question here that others may have, as I’ve done throughout these interviews: the grey Mercedes is the one…

M: That’s the one I considered my car.

S: Right. And the Green Beauty…

M: I considered that Krishnaji’s car.

S: Krishnaji’s, yes.

M: ‘The next day, in the grey Mercedes, we went to Ojai in the afternoon and settled into the cottage. It was very cold there. The temperature had gone down to nineteen degrees[1] this week, but it was snug in the cottage. We walked a little. I made supper, and after some TV, bedtime came early.’

On January third, ‘we went to and then walked on the Oak Grove land, meeting Charles Rusch and Carey Smoot.’ They were architects involved with the plans that we had to build more buildings for the school, and ultimately to do something about Pine Cottage.

S: Right.

M: But we’ll come to that. ‘We were thinking about a possible place for an assembly hall.’ Well, we never could build that. We didn’t have the money, so that didn’t happen. ‘Carol Smith, Joe Zorski, and Eirena Gregory on holiday from Brockwood were there. Krishnaji and I lunched with Erna and Theo and then went to Arya Vihara, where Krishnaji held a discussion with teachers, parents, and Philippa Dunne and David, her friend, came too. Also present were Fritz Wilhelm, Ted Cartee, Joe and Carol. Afterward, Krishnaji walked with Fritz Wilhelm and asked if he would like to join the KFA as head of an educational center in Ojai.[2] He said, yes. He would leave Germany and his teaching job there and move his mother to Ojai, some day.’

Sunday, the fourth of January. ‘Krishnaji saw David Moody at 12:30 p.m. Erna, Theo, and Fritz lunched with Krishnaji and me in the cottage and discussed his coming here and what was involved. At 2:30 p.m., there was a private discussion with Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, Ruth, Albion, Alan Kishbaugh, Mark, David Moody, Fritz, and Ted Cartee. Krishnaji came to a new expression of what there is when conditioning is understood and “chopped,”’ it says here. ‘“Then, there is a special something original,” he said.’ And I underlined “original.”

‘Afterward, Krishnaji spoke alone with trustees only, regarding Fritz heading the center. All agreed to it. Krishnaji then fetched Fritz and talked together. He is to think it over carefully, discuss the move with his mother and brother, a U.S. citizen living in Chicago, and when he returns here in April for the public talks, he will make it all definite and concrete. Krishnaji walked with Erna, Theo, Alan K., and me. And then we had tea. Fritz flies back to Germany tonight.’

January fifth. ‘Krishnaji had eleven hours of rest, he told me, happily feeling the good of it on waking up. Over breakfast, he talked at length about seeing what his presence had done here and the need to spend extended time in Ojai. That points to a need to expand the cottage to be a proper house. And we talked about this, and which architect to use. He said, too, that Ojai, Brockwood, and India must be brought together. He puts his faith in Sunanda and Balasundaram. “Pupul is diminishing,” he said. He said that Bohm, Fritz, the Lilliefelts, and I must talk in the spring about what the center ought to be. He said Brockwood has reached a level as a school, but that it is not enough. It’s too limited. It must, “flower as a European oasis.”’

S: Mm.

M:  ‘He said, “I must do this, the center, before I die.” He wants to stay alone in the cottage on the weekend that I am in hospital’—I was about to have a skin graft on my bad leg, so I had to go into the hospital, and I was concerned about his being alone—‘…instead of staying with the Lilliefelts.’

‘“Something is happening here.”…“I feel safe here now.”…“I don’t want to interrupt it.” He doesn’t want any strange person to stay in the cottage with him. He will take lunch and supper with the Lilliefelts. We left in the usual rush. The presence of too little time again. And then I say to myself, “Am I too inefficient, or is it all really too rushed?” Practical things have to be done, and they take time. I do not seem to be able to do three things at once. But the ride back was quiet and unhurried. Krishnaji drove the second half. We looked for signs of rain over the ocean. Ojai has had only a half an inch of rain. We got home for lunch. I telephoned the hospital regarding my admission next Monday, and about material for curtains in the expanded apartment over the office—we are pushing the bedroom and sitting room walls out to include the porch area’—that’s upstairs—‘almost doubling its size. Krishnaji is very pleased, and chose the chintz for curtains, rather like the ones in his cottage sitting room, which he still exclaims over each time we arrive. After lunch, he said his head was “beginning” again. We walked on the beach and gave persimmons from Ojai to the Dunnes.’

Now, we go to the sixth. ‘After lunch we went to town to see a movie, but it wasn’t playing, so we came home.’

S: By town, you mean LA?

M: LA, yes, or it could be Santa Monica. In other words, not Malibu.

There’s nothing really for the seventh.

On the eighth, ‘Joe Zorski and Carol Smith, here on holiday from Brockwood, came to lunch with us in Malibu. Krishnaji and I washed the car.’ [Both chuckle.] That often happened.

S: Yes. It had been a whole three days since you washed it last time!

M: That’s right. [Laughter.] And somewhere in here, we apparently waxed it. I don’t remember that, but it says so. [Chuckles.]

On January ninth, ‘We left at 2:30 p.m. for Ojai, Krishnaji driving the Green Beauty. Another cloudless day, though, rain was predicted. One is impatient for clouds. Singing Frère Jacques,’ [chuckles], ‘Krishnaji smiled in recognition.’

S: You were singing Frère Jacques?

M: Apparently. ‘After, we traded seats at the usual stopping place…’ There was a place, with some big trees, where we would switch because he didn’t like to drive in town traffic. He liked to drive on the open road. ‘…I drove and Krishnaji sang, as he always does, in Sanskrit, a chant.’ [Both chuckle.] You’ve heard that.

S: Yes, yes. I’ve heard it many times.

M: ‘We stopped to get cheese and special coffee. Erna came for a walk. She says that they will stay above the office next weekend if Krishnaji stays alone in the cottage.’ That’s so they’d be near by, the office being right next to the cottage. ‘At supper, Krishnaji said I was slipping into habits. I don’t control my body. Why? Am I worried about my cousin?’ My cousin was terribly sick. ‘Or about my own operation? No. Only fatigue at times. I feel well, have plenty of energy mostly, but it runs out sooner. Krishnaji said I was much more energetic at Brockwood. He said that with him, I should have the most energy. “What will you do if I die?” he asked. “Will you stay with it?”’

‘“Yes,” I replied.’

‘“No, I am asking it wrongly,” he said. Then, he said, “Do you feel something in the room?” I had and did. And strangely, the tiredness I had felt disappeared as if a transfusion of strength had been given.’

On January tenth. ‘At breakfast Krishnaji said, “I once saw ‘a face.’ I’ve been feeling ‘that face’ all night. Something happens to me here.”’

‘I asked, “Something curious happened to me last night when you were talking to me. Did you know that?”’

‘He replied, “Yes. I will tell you sometime, not now.” He went on talking about being here. It was important. He may return here on Wednesday, while I am in the hospital. We talked about living here all the time without Malibu. Would I mind giving up Malibu? I said I loved it, but was not attached to it. My home is where it is best for him and the teachings.’

Then, there’s a thing about Mr. Schwartz—that’s the man with the curtains.

S: Read it.

M: Oh, no.

S: Yes, go on.

M: It’s nothing to do with Krishnaji.

S: I know, but it was part of your life with Krishnaji.

M: ‘Mr. Schwartz, the decorating man came with samples of corduroy for the office apartment sofa and to measure for curtains. Krishnaji had asked Mark to send over lunch as Theo is sick, and we are not lunching with Erna and Theo. Michael Krohnen brought over some delicious things. Krishnaji and I ate alone, washed up, and I went to pick up Mar de Manziarly at the lumber place.’ The lumber place is on the road, and her sister’s house was back in the hills. As we weren’t very friendly with Mima (who was an ardent supporter of Rajagopal), I didn’t want to go to her house. So, Mar walked down to the road to the lumber place and I picked her up there. ‘She is staying with her sister, Mima Porter. I brought her to the cottage, and then with Krishnaji, we walked to Arya Vihara for Krishnaji’s discussion with teachers and parents. I spoke to Rusch afterward. It points to Charles Moore being the architect for the cottage. I arranged for a drawing plan of the cottage, as it is, to be made right away. I drove Mar back to Porter’s gate. Krishnaji, Kishbaugh, and I walked in the dark. Krishnaji told Kishbaugh that we need more young trustees. “I want to involve you more,” he told Alan. At supper, Krishnaji said, “I will live another fifteen years, and you another twenty.”’ I’ve already outlived my twenty.

S: Good. But it’s another twenty we’re talking about now.

M: ‘He looked intently at me. I asked what it was. “I feel that other thing.” For me, it is interesting that I haven’t felt tired at all today.’

January eleventh. ‘Krishnaji had Erna in to talk about my rebuilding the cottage and perhaps living in it for good; how to handle it.[3] Erna felt that Louis Blau could advise. I somehow got lunch cooked and fetched Mar de Manziarly at her sister’s. She lunched with Krishnaji, Erna, Alan K., and me. Then, she stayed for the discussion with Krishnaji, Erna, Alan, Ruth, Albion, Mark, David Moody, Ted Cartee, and me. Krishnaji continued on the subject: Is there something original and not in the realm of knowledge and self? Do we see that we live in conditioned thought? How do we drop concepts to see the false and remaining only with the question? I questioned not accepting answers, “Even from God himself.” To truly ask is not to know, and from this, something different can be. It takes great energy and attention to remain in the question.’

‘In the car coming home, I asked about “the face.” He has seen it often, “out there like that bush there.” A face only, not a body.’

‘I asked, “Does it move or speak?”’

‘“No. I have been seeing it since that night”’—I put in parentheses—‘(Friday).’ That was Friday; this is Sunday.

S: Right, mm, hm.

M: So, that’s two days ago…‘“not outside, but inside. It usually means it is moving into this body.”’

S: So “the face” moves into the body?

M: Yes. ‘I asked if it could presage his “going off,” and, if so, should he stay alone in the cottage while I am in the hospital?’

‘“That will not happen when I am alone,” he said. “The body must be looked after.”’

‘I am still feeling this absence of fatigue. We talked more about the cottage, living there. David and Philippa were waiting for us in Malibu. They will stay there with Krishnaji till he goes to Ojai while I am in hospital.’ I wanted somebody in the house.

S: Of course.

M: Now, Monday, oh, this is when I go to the hospital. You don’t want to hear all about my hospital stay, surely.

S: It would be good for the record if we knew briefly what it was about.

M: Well, alright. What I was having done was a skin graft to fix the ulceration where I had had radiation on my leg as a girl. Briefly, what happened was that ‘Amanda drove me into the UCLAMedicalCenter, stopping on the way for me to glance at a Charles Moore designed house in Santa MonicaCanyon. I checked into the hospital, and a private room on the ninth floor. I spent the rest of the day and evening on various pre-surgery tests. Dr. Bakhtiar’—that’s Lailee, she was our doctor—‘came by. Dr. Miller’—that was the surgeon—‘and a Dr. Reynolds, an anesthesiologist, came by to discuss. There’s to be a spinal, I don’t want any general sedation, and only a mild dose of valium intravenously. I talked on the phone to Krishnaji, and gave him the news. Krishnaji stays at Malibu for a few days. Philippa and David are staying in Filomena’s old room so as to be on hand. My surgery is to be at 7:45 a.m. I slept well without any unease. I have had no resistance to all this. No worrying or sense of tension.’

S: May I stop for a minute and ask about something?

M: Sure.

S: I mentioned to Krishnaji [pause] I don’t know how many times, but that when he was giving a talk, on several occasions, I saw his face change. And in fact, I even saw it on one videotape.

M: So you told me, which seemed remarkable.

S: But, in your mind, is that related to “the face” that Krishnaji was talking about? Or, is it…

M: I didn’t see it change in those days.

S: Right.

M: I’ve since seen it change when he’s talking.

S: Right. So, do you think it’s related, or is this just silly speculation, or what? Krishnaji never said anything about it?

M: Well, he said what we just recorded.

S: Right. But the relationship between that face and…

M: And he once said to me, “Did you see ‘the face?’ I wish I could see it,” as though…

S: He hadn’t seen it. But, he’d seen it, apart.

M: He’d seen “the face,” and according to this, it seemed to move into him, but he didn’t say, as I’m looking at you, of course, with several feet of space. He hadn’t seen it that way. At least, that’s my understanding.

S: Right. Can you read that bit again?

M: ‘In the car coming home, I asked Krishnaji about “the face.” He has seen it often, “out there, like that bush there.”’

S: Yes, so he saw it externally.

M: Yes. He has seen it often. ‘“A face only, not a body.”’

Then I ask, ‘“Does it move or speak?”’

He replies, ‘“No. I have been seeing it since that night”’—I put in parenthesis ‘(Friday),’—and this was on Sunday, two days ago—‘“not outside but inside.”’ So he seems to be saying two different thingS: He has seen it outside and inside.

S: Okay. That’s the end of it, right?[4]

M: Mm.

S: Alright, so anyway, let’s go on.

M: So, we now go to the thirteenth. Well, it’s just about my surgery.

The next day, I’m still in the hospital. ‘Krishnaji telephoned. He went to Ojai with Theo. He’s staying in the cottage alone. The meals are sent over from Arya Vihara.’

‘Philippa’s David brought me’—they don’t let you have jewelry in surgery—‘brought me my rings from Krishnaji.’ Krishnaji used to take, as he did with Mary Links, he would take my rings and he would either put them on his finger or put them at night by his bed, and he would magnetize them, whatever that means.

On January fifteenth, ‘I’m still in the hospital. Krishnaji telephoned from the cottage, and said that all is well. Dr. Miller said I could go home soon. He said the scar tissue was very deep, more than he expected.’

January sixteenth. ‘I’m still in the hospital. Krishnaji telephoned again. I waited all day for Dr. Miller’s visit.’ Oh, just medical stuff.

The next day, ‘Krishnaji telephoned. I was able to take a sponge bath and wash my hair.’ [Chuckles.] ‘Krishnaji held a teacher-parent discussion at Arya Vihara.’ But as I wasn’t there, so there’s no record of it in my diary.

On the eighteenth, ‘I’m still in the hospital. Krishnaji telephoned. My mother and stepfather telephoned. Dr. Miller said I could go home the next day, in an ambulance. I must be quiet another week, I reported this to Krishnaji.’

Now, the nineteenth. ‘They took out the rest of the stitches. The operation is over, the graft took. There was no malignancy. The surgery went as planned. I dressed. An ambulance took me to Malibu by 1 o’clock. Home, blessedly, home again. I bathed and got into my own bed!’ I have an exclamation point. ‘Elfriede gave me a tray with lunch. Krishnaji arrived with Theo in the afternoon. Such peace and blessed feeling. I am truly blessed. Happiness,’ it says.

January twentieth. ‘Krishnaji, after breakfast, talked of remodeling the cottage. Rusch has asked Charles Moore, who is eager to do the design. Krishnaji was concerned about my finances. “You must live as you do now, be able to travel,” he said. We agreed that “my job is to look after K.” He then said that at Ojai, he had a feeling’—this is interesting—‘he must offer a chance to Rajagopal and RR’—that’s Rosalind—‘to redeem themselves, expiate their sins before they die. Must do it, so they cannot refuse, for if they do, it will be worse.’

‘“Greater damnation?” I asked.’

‘“Yes,” said Krishnaji.’


Editor’s Note: This is such a singular expression or sentiment in the record of Krishnaji’s life that it is worth noting. The two Rajagopals were, to my recollection, the only people he ever referred to as “evil,” and he did so on more than one occasion. That Krishnaji felt they, for their own sakes, should “redeem themselves,” and “expiate their sins,” says not only volumes about how he understood them, but also about his understanding of the nature of death that he did not express elsewhere. If, as Krishnaji frequently described death, a person’s consciousness simply returns to “the stream of human consciousness,” then there would seem to be no consequences to them of non-redemption and non-expiation that reach beyond death, but that doesn’t seem to be what is implied. Even if we dismiss the notion of “damnation” as one that Mary introduced, Krishnaji seems concerned, for the Rajagopals’ sakes, to mitigate some effect of their lives and actions; a mitigation that Krishnaji holds to be important and that is no longer possible after death.   


‘He talked to the Lilliefelts yesterday, who must’ve been shaken by this. I listened without comment. Then he said, “Rajagopal was a Brahmin. I want to tell him that.” I thought to myself that Rajagopal was and remains a crook and a miserable human being.’

Now we go to the twenty-second. ‘My brother called me from Boston about my cousin. She nearly died, but her heart somehow survived. I’m stunned by what she’s going through. My own fly-spotted ills seem unmentionable. Krishnaji is greatly concerned and sad. He “puts his hands” to heal twice a day. I stayed in bed except for sitting with feet up at the desk for a while. Krishnaji has his lunch on a tray in my room. Today, we reminisced about Aldous Huxley. He remembered his saying to Krishnaji, “It is nice to hear English spoken again after all these years in California.”’ [M and S both laugh.] ‘He remembered visiting Aldous and Maria’—that was his first wife—‘at…’ um, at somewhere, ‘and once in Rome when Aldous came to a World Health Organization meeting. “We used to walk in the BorgheseGardens in the morning. Then, Aldous had to go to the WHO. I think it bored him.” Krishnaji was very sprawling, elegant, and turning on the chair he sat on, and laughing at the remembrance.’

On the twenty-fourth. Well, I have a long thing about my cousin. She nearly died. ‘Only her own resources can pull her through. I was stunned at the contrast between Lorna’s desperate plight and my good news. I felt a pouring of strength to her.’

‘Krishnaji was to have gone to Ojai yesterday, but wished to stay here another day to do my leg. In mid-morning, he drove to Ojai with Alan Kishbaugh, and held a teacher-parent discussion at Arya Vihara, and will hold another tomorrow in the cottage, so he will stay the night in the cottage. I remained in bed in Malibu. Amanda came to see me, and I did a lot of letters on the dictating machine.’ I didn’t like dictating. I’ve never been good at dictating.

Anyway, the twenty-fifth. ‘My stepfather called saying there is a belligerent change in my mother’s character. I think she is getting Alzheimer’s. Krishnaji telephoned from the cottage, and said he is not too tired. Amanda and Phil came over in the early afternoon, and Philippa and David came later. Alan K. brought the just-made blueprints for the cottage as it now is.’

On the twenty-sixth, ‘I got up and dressed for the first time. Krishnaji arrived with Theo in time for lunch. At 3 p.m., Charles Moore arrived to start considering how to change the cottage. Krishnaji spoke of austerity born out of harmony. Various ideas were considered. It went well. Earlier at lunch, Krishnaji had talked very seriously to Theo about my having an absolute right to live there throughout my lifetime. He wishes to ensure this. He seemed pleased by what the architects have said. The conversation led toward an adobe or otherwise thick-walled house, small patio, a little fountain, tile floors, possibly solar heat and radiant heating. In evening, Krishnaji did my leg. He told me later that he felt a presence as he did it, and it remained in my room instead of following him “as it usually does.”’

S: So, the presence usually follows him?

M: Yes.

S: Oh, how nice.

M: Isn’t that nice? But, he left it with me.

S: It stayed with you. Yes. [Laughs.]

M: That’s lovely.

S: Yes, that’s very sweet.

M: Yes.

S: Where was this fountain supposed to be?

M: Well, the fountain was a flop. It’s where those flowers are, over there under the dining room. It was a nuisance.

S: On this side?

M: On this side, where all those flowers are.[5]

S: Right.

M: That was a little pool with a little fountain.

S: Ah, yes.

M: But it didn’t work. It was messy, and I didn’t want it. I got rid of it and put flowers instead. But, it was there for a while.

Now, we go to the twenty-seventh. ‘Elfriede was off, and I was able to get one breakfast. The leg seemed definitely better today. Amanda came and took to the secretarial service two cassettes of letters I’ve dictated. Krishnaji came in and talked seriously. He said, “My life is uncertain and because it is uncertain, it is enduring.”’

‘“You must carry on.”’

‘He said, “There is something more in my life than K, and if that operates, it will do what it wants. No one can prevent it.” And he said, “My love for you is without attachment, and therefore it will endure.”’

‘“I am coming with you to talk to Blau.” (Thursday) “I want to tell him this property in Ojai is to be yours; I may be there, but it is yours.”’

‘“Because you have taken the responsibility for K, you must be protected.” He said that he had felt I should not be alone here now without him. He felt it on the weekend. He wants to come with me even on errands for a while, and with me when I go to the doctor on the ninth. He feels this place is no longer safe—the city, violence is spreading. This house is no longer the refuge it was. He spoke of the possibility of his “going off.” He said, once at Brockwood, only Whisper’s presence prevented it. I asked what it meant. Did it mean he would die? Maybe, he said, but it seems to be as if he dismissed that as minor—the “going off” seems the point and a different sort of disappearance.’ He used to talk about disappearing a lot.

S: Mm, hm.

M: ‘But he spoke of the body living another ten to fifteen years. He spoke of the importance of Balasundaram and Sunanda carrying on the work in India. He said Pupul is finished, too pulled by “selling cloth.”’

S: Mm, hm. Yes. She started the Indian government cottage industry…

M: Yes. ‘Her being able to spend only three days at Rishi Valley showed her boredom. It is important that Sunanda be around Krishnaji here and at Brockwood to learn. Then, Fritz Wilhelm, Alan K., Mark Lee must be in on discussions between him and David Bohm regarding what a center is to be. “It will come out. It always does.” He spoke about rescuing “those two” (Rajagopal and Rosalind) from damnation. Why? Because they had been close to the teachings and had rejected it, and therefore, the greater damnation.’

‘Mar de Manziarly is still in Ojai because her sister Yo had a car accident. We spoke to her this morning on the telephone. Krishnaji dismissed Mima and Yo as selfish people, and seemed to find that petty alongside the evil of Rajagopal and Rosalind. The larger the sin, the more he seems to feel they should be saved from damnation. Later, after lunch, he said he was tired, his head hurt. It began when he talked seriously.’ Then I put in a p.s.: ‘Krishnaji also said that if it were not “for K,” my operation and its healing wouldn’t have gone as well as it did.’

S: Now, hold on. Let’s just go back for a moment.

M: Hm?

S: So, one thing was that he said that at Brockwood he didn’t “go off” once because of Whisper. And we have to just say for the record that Whisper was the school dog, a golden Labrador.

M: Yes.

S: So, somehow the presence of Whisper, the school dog, prevented him from going off.

M: Mm. Yes.

S: Could you read from that point on? Because I think it’s a bit confusing.

M: I do, too.

Well, I’m cutting in when he said that this house, meaning the Malibu house, was no longer the refuge it was.

S: Yes.

M: ‘He spoke of the possibility of his “going off.” He said once, at Brockwood, only Whisper’s presence prevented it. I asked what “it” meant’—meaning “going off”—‘and did it mean he would die? “Maybe,” he said, but it seemed as if…’

S: Because he also used the expression “going off” for when he fainted, and also during “the process.”

M: Yes, yes. It’s an expression that he used…

S: …for all those different things.

M: He used to alarm me with his talking about “going off,” and I always had the feeling that if he went for a walk by himself off in the grove or somewhere, he mightn’t come back.

S: Yes.

M: Anyway, shall we go on?

January twenty-eighth ‘was a quiet day. Krishnaji washed the green car with Sidney Field and waxed it.’

‘Krishnaji at lunch said, “I’ve had two things going through my mind all morning. One, a Buddhist temple at Adyar with a pond where he”’—Krishnaji as a boy—“‘used to go. And no other. Do you remember the rooms where I used to live?”’—this is when he was a boy at Adyar. ‘“Below that, by the river, the boy used to go there, when he first lived there, in the early mornings and stand there, vacant, lost.”…“I wonder why this memory has drifted up?” He had looked a bit “off” all morning. He picked up the biography in my room, opened it, and stood smiling faintly at a very early picture of him and his two brothers.’

January twenty-ninth. ‘Krishnaji and I went to Beverly Hills, I driving the grey Mercedes slowly and without too much effort. For two-and-a-half hours we talked in his office with Louis Blau about Krishnaji getting immigrant status in this country, meaning a “green card.” We’ll try under the special category of a religious leader. There are endless forms to fill in. I will undertake to give all the necessary information. Then, Lou went into a strong statement which sounded like ones Krishnaji had come to make, i.e., that I must be in the position where I can live in the new proposed Ojai house for the rest of my life with privacy, protection, etcetera. To that end, Lou and his office will advise on how to bring the cottage and the land to be a total property legally vis-à-vis the Foundation, and also how to dovetail the sale of the Malibu house, including tax matters. He needs three years of income tax papers. I was rather taken aback by all this. Presumably, it will result in expert professional advice, but it seems to be a rather elaborate investigation, not one that I had contemplated. I’ve had moments of thinking of this going a bit far, but there is the old phenomenon of seeming one with things developing around Krishnaji. Things start to move, and then comes the curious phenomenon of going with them. A month ago, I wasn’t thinking of selling Malibu, and then the sequence of things enveloped it with a logic that doesn’t even have a demarcation of decision in it. Krishnaji was rather amazed at the complication of the “business,” but he likes and has confidence in Lou. It was after 7 p.m. when we got home.’

January thirtieth. ‘I recounted yesterday’s meeting with Lou to Amanda. I went to the secretarial service to fetch thirty-six letters I had dictated. Then, in the green Mercedes, with Krishnaji driving, we went to Ojai. Charles Moore met us at the cottage where we lunched with food provided by Michael Krohnen from Arya Vihara. We figured out the floor plan for remodeling the cottage. Rusch joined us later. We made a lot of progress.’

January thirty-first. ‘Another perfect, cloudless day, warm and beautiful, and disturbing—the last of January and no rain has fallen. Evelyne Blau came. Erna has a touch of the flu so couldn’t go with her, Theo, and Mark to the HappyValley school board meeting. Krishnaji talked to the three of them. “We are the righteous, they are the unrighteous,” he said.’ [M and S chuckle.] ‘But if there is any opening of their wanting to be more friendly and our getting some of the land, we must meet it.’ You see, the land had been stolen by…

S: Right. So, this was looking at the HappyValley land, too?

M: Yes, yes. We weren’t sure where to build the school in the beginning, and eventually it was clear that we had plenty of land, but we were looking for land at this point.

S: Yes.

M: ‘They went, and I had a meeting with Charles Rusch and Carey Smoot on the monumental difficulties the local authorities are piling on our plans for the West End. Evelyne, Theo, and Mark returned. Uribe’—that was the lawyer for HappyValley—‘held forth. He claimed that Rajagopal and Rosalind are more friendly. Our position was that we are starting at the West End but are interested in the HappyValley land for a future high school, and have presented a lease drawn up by Blau for them to consider. Uribe objects to parts of it and so we will consider his points, but generally the matter is open on both sides. Both Erna and I take a dim view of all this. It is a waste of time and energy dealing with Rosalind and what will we do with the land if we have it? We have enough problems with the West End plan. “We’d hold it,” says Krishnaji.’ Krishnaji rather liked a lot of real estate.

S: I’m completely with him on that. [Both laugh.]

M: ‘Evelyne and Theo lunched with us in the cottage, and at 2:30 p.m., Krishnaji held a discussion for teachers and parents at Arya Vihara.’

S: Alright. If I may ask some questions here, because I didn’t know that the HappyValleySchool land was still in question, that the K. Foundation of America could have it?

M: Well, according to history, before my time, Annie Besant bought it for Krishnaji.

S: I know, I know. That was all part of what was stolen from Krishnaji.

M: Yes, it was part of what was stolen.

So, we go on to February first. ‘It is as hot as summer. Not a cloud. “Another beastly day,” says Krishnaji. Kishbaugh lunched with Krishnaji and me in the cottage. Meals are now supplied by Arya Vihara, Michael Krohnen doing the cooking. At 3 p.m., Krishnaji held a discussion in the cottage with Kishbaugh, Evelyne, Ruth, Albion, Mark, Asha, Dr. and Mrs. Marx’—they were people who lived here and were interested in the school—‘David Green and his wife, Michael Krohnen, and David Moody. We discussed the mind being within the field of knowledge. Much review, but a good one. Krishnaji, Alan, and I walked. I rested. We had our usual supper and each was deep in a book.’

February second. ‘It was a sunny, quiet morning. We lunched alone in the cottage, then we drove home to Malibu. Krishnaji is concerned about my leg, and will not let me carry anything, or drive too far. There was a letter from Wooge saying that Mother’s mind is now gone and she is very belligerent.’

For February third, all I have is: ‘Home all day, except when Krishnaji and I drove down to get some papers notarized.’ And there’s even less for the next day: ‘Home. Worked on Krishnaji’s papers.’

S: Krishnaji papers would’ve been correspondence?

M: Yes. Also, we were preparing papers to get him a green card.

For February fifth, there’s a small notation: ‘Rain! The first sprinkles since early December. Light but there. We drove in the grey Mercedes to Ojai in the afternoon. Krishnaji asked, “Do you feel the atmosphere here?” I spoke to my stepfather and also to my cousin in the hospital in Boston. She says she has turned a corner.’

Friday, the sixth. ‘There was light rain in the morning. We walked down the driveway to look back through the orange trees, heavy with fruit, to the mountains crowned with snow. Topa Topa and the whole northern range were white. Later, clouds re-gathered, and it rained on and off all day. Erna and Theo lunched with us in the cottage. Krishnaji brought up “saving the souls” of Rajagopal and Rosalind. I said earlier that I was without hatred for them but, personally, wanted or preferred to have nothing to do with either. Krishnaji said they had both spat on the teachings, which was such a dreadful thing that he feels they should be given a chance before they die to expiate it. All of us seem to feel that Rajagopal is incapable of it, but Krishnaji feels he should have one more chance. I pointed out that Erna, Theo, and I had gone to long considerable efforts to extricate Krishnaji from the swamp he was in with those people, and that even a touch of it again was repugnant. Krishnaji said it was not a question of that, but because they’d been close to the teachings, and betrayed it, they are damned—the word I began and now he uses. Later, when we were alone, I told him that everything I said for myself personally, I meant it all the way, but these are things that he must decide, and in responsibility to him, I will do things I would not do on my own. We left it at that. We worked on forms for Krishnaji’s immigration.’

For the seventh, there is nothing in the big book, but in the little book it says: ‘Rain continues. Architects are here for the weekend and came to the discussion Krishnaji held in afternoon at Arya Vihara. We walked with Kishbaugh.’

So, we go on to the eighth. ‘It rained on and off all weekend. Five of the architects are here. We conferred, and came at noon to settle priorities. We are to start and ask for permits to build: 1. pavilion, 2. residences, 3. permanent classrooms, 4. an assembly hall. This means thirty day-pupils can study in the pavilion, and another thirty in a permanent classroom building, with Mark living in the residence. They showed us interesting designs that were inventive and suitable. Chuck Rusch told Krishnaji that he would be responsible for the building and so will other architects, but he will coordinate it. He said he had cleared his life of everything but two things, his teaching in the school of architecture at UCLA, and seeing Krishnaji’s school built. Krishnaji was pleased. Everybody lunched at Arya Vihara. Evelyne and Cynthia Wood were there. In the afternoon, Krishnaji held a discussion with Evelyne, Cynthia, Theo, Ruth, Albion, Mark, Asha, the David Greens, the Marxes, David Moody, Michael Krohnen, and me. Erna was with relatives, so that’s why she wasn’t there. Krishnaji spoke on seeing without reference to anything, without comparison, the energy of that. In the evening, Krishnaji played a tape of Doraiswamy Iyengar on Veena recorded a year ago at Bangalore. It is still raining.’

On February ninth, ‘Rain lessened. We left and drove back to Malibu. I was tense in the car. I’m leaving forty minutes behind schedule; and the schedule was tight. Krishnaji intended to drive the second lap as usual. When I said we had to hurry, he said I was irritable, and he didn’t want that. “All right, anything for peace.”’ [Laughing.] ‘He wouldn’t drive, which shocked me, and I stopped in the usual place and gave him the wheel. He drove back beautifully and swiftly. We ate lunch at home, and he came with me to the UCLA Medical Center and waited in the car while I saw Dr. Miller, who kept me waiting, but said the leg is healing properly. Be cautious for another two weeks, and then I can do anything, he said. Krishnaji and I then did errands. We bought detective stories, a Michelangeli recording of Haydn concertos, some jersey shirts, things at Lindberg’s and got home by 6 p.m. Amanda says we’ve had two inches of rain over the weekend. Ojai had six. Evelyne rang to say that Cynthia Wood would give another donation to the school. Krishnaji and I watched the skiing Olympics in Innsbruck on TV. The ocean made a fine, growling sound.’ [M and S both chuckle.]

Nothing of significance for the tenth, and for the eleventh, my diary says only, ‘Desk in the morning, and went to town in the afternoon for errands. At home by 6 p.m., and Krishnaji met me near the gate.’

The twelfth of February. ‘I worked at biographical materials of Krishnaji for his resident’s permit according to forms Louis Blau gave us. Krishnaji and I lunched and drove to town, and a new barber suggested by Alan Kishbaugh. Krishnaji had an excellent haircut while I went to get car wax in the sleazy pornography of Santa Monica Boulevard near Fairfax. On the way back, we stopped to look for floor tile at Kneedler Faucher’—that’s the store that sells them. ‘They have our Malibu pattern in Italian tile, which Krishnaji likes, but they expect new ones in March. On our return, Erna telephoned that Cynthia Wood had sent a check for $200,000 toward the school building.’

February thirteenth. ‘The Dunnes nicely ignored my birthday.’ [S laughs.] ‘But Alain Naudé telephoned. Krishnaji, of course, doesn’t remember such things. We got off for Ojai before my family could telephone. We lunched in the cottage with Erna and Theo, and went out to look at the Oak Grove land, where Carey Smoot had cleared up trees, bracken, etcetera. and an entrance from Lomita Avenue. It looked very nice. We walked around and back on Besant Road. My first real walk since my operation, and it made my leg feel better. Supper in the cottage and early to sleep.’

February fourteenth, ‘Alan K. is away, so I recorded on the Nagra the discussion at Arya Vihara for teachers, parents, etcetera. Cynthia Wood brought a Margaret Mallory from Santa Barbara, who was enthusiastic. It was a very good discussion. She said we had met in Rome, at the AmericanAcademy. She spoke of Sam, Varnum Poor, Ingrid Bergman, and my father. Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, and I went for a walk in faint rain.’

S: Can you explain what is the AmericanAcademy in Rome?

M: It’s an academic, I think, university for art and all those things.

S: And she had met you and Sam there?

M: Apparently.

S: And she’d also met your father and Ingrid Bergman?

M: I don’t really know.

The fifteenth, ‘Erna, Theo, Evelyne, Cynthia Wood to lunch in the cottage. There was the usual Sunday discussion for fifteen people at 3 p.m. I taped it on the Nagra. Another good discussion. Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, and I went for a walk afterwards.’

The following day we drove back to Malibu.

February seventeenth. ‘Krishnaji said, “I feel as if something were expanding in my head. It has been going on for a few days, a new feeling. If I shut my eyes, it is there.” And then, “Your responsibility is to look after K. Therefore, you must be healthy. I will live a long time, ten or fifteen years.” I worked on Krishnaji’s immigration papers. We waxed the green Mercedes together, and then went for a beach walk, taking some Ojai avocados to the Dunnes.’

Then, the eighteenth…god, these diaries go on forever. We’ll have to live to be 105!

S: That’s good. I’m planning on it. I’m planning it for you, too.

M: [laughs] Alright, the eighteenth, ‘Desk. We waxed the grey Mercedes. At 6 p.m., we went to the sheriff’s station for Krishnaji to be fingerprinted for the resident’s permit. Mark and Asha lunched with Rosalind and Beatrice Wood. Rosalind said she will never forgive Krishnaji for refusing to see her in Rome.’ She had gone to Rome to try to see him when he was staying with Vanda, and he refused to see her.

February nineteenth, ‘It was my brother’s birthday and I had a phone conversation with him and I told him about moving to Ojai. Krishnaji and I drove to town on errands. I got him some nice jeans at Bullock’s he likes, and soft walking shoes. We had a picnic lunch in the car. We each had our teeth cleaned at Dr. Christensen’s. I delivered all the forms and documents for Krishnaji’s residence permit to Louis Blau’s office. We also bought an herb, hyssop, suggested by Amanda Pallant for Krishnaji’s catarrh. We were home by suppertime.’ She’s an herbalist.

On the next day, ‘We went to Ojai for lunch with Erna and Theo. In the afternoon, we went for a long walk around the block.’

February twenty-first. ‘Charles Moore and Charles Rusch came with the cottage plans for Krishnaji and me to see. It was rather disappointing and the model they brought was ordinary, but the meeting was useful. Later, Krishnaji said that he and I could draw what we want and present it to them to improve and make professional. They lunched here. At 3 p.m., Krishnaji held a teacher/parent/etcetera discussion at Arya Vihara. I taped it. We walked later with Erna and Theo. From Krishnaji, “I will talk to your body, not you, on a quiet face and quiet hands.”…“I am aware of gestures as I talk; why aren’t you?” said he.’ [Both chuckle.] Well, he sits on his hands. I never could. I move my hands much too much, and I realize it. Krishnaji was always bothered that my hands were not quiet. It bothered him always. Bothers me still.

S: I know. I do it too much, too. [M chuckles.]

M: On the twenty-second, ‘Krishnaji walked in his sleep last night. I must’ve heard him bump into something in his room, for I woke up suddenly and totally and alarmingly.’ [Seems to explain:] I was sleeping here, on this sofa.

S: Here being, this is Krishnaji’s little sitting room? I’m just saying that for the tape, because when you say “here”…

M: Oh, of course. I’m sorry. ‘He came into the sitting room, where I was sleeping on the sofa. I spoke to him, and he said, “Maria?”’ That’s the name he called me. ‘I put on the tiny Dutch flashlight Dorothy gave me a year ago and saw Krishnaji was standing against the wall facing it.’ That means he would’ve had his back to me. ‘He woke up with the light and went back to the bathroom and bed, falling immediately deeply asleep. I could hear his breathing was that of sleep. I stayed awake a long time. In the morning he said, “I must’ve walked in my sleep. I have never done that.” The morning was quiet. Erna and Theo lunched with us, and at 3 p.m., Krishnaji had a private group discussion. I taped it. A very interesting one. Krishnaji, Erna, Theo, and I drove to the Oak Grove land, which had been plowed and disked. Carey Smoot has put up six wooden gate posts, which none of us like or knew he was doing.’ It doesn’t say anything about who was at the meeting.

February twenty-third. ‘Krishnaji at breakfast said, “My head, here”—he indicated the back part—“feels as if it were expanding—great stillness, air, and light.” He gestured and laughed. Last night he seemed to have walked in his sleep again. I was instantly awake around 1 a.m. when I heard him walking in his room. I spoke and he responded, and came in. “I wonder why I do this.” He went back and slept immediately. Erna and Theo are upset about the posts, and talked to Rusch. Smoot refused to change them and will walk out if we do.’ [Laughs.] ‘Discussion. Krishnaji had Smoot come in the afternoon. Meanwhile, Moorhead telephoned from England on his arrival from India. He says that Balasundaram has hepatitis, and may not be able to come to the conference. Krishnaji talked alone with Smoot, and then called in Erna, Theo, and me. Krishnaji had smoothed it all out.’ [Laughs.]

‘And so, we didn’t get off till about 5 p.m. in the car. Krishnaji said his head was suddenly bad. He asked me to drive between fifty and fifty-five m.p.h.’ That means slowly. ‘Suddenly he said, “I almost fainted just now.” Several times, he put one hand over his eyes and groaned. “It’s pretty bad,” he said. Along the coast road near Decker Road, he fainted for about two minutes. The seat belt held him gently so that he didn’t fall into my lap as in past faintings. When we reached the house, he said he was alright, and jumped out and opened the garage doors. We carried things into his room. When I asked, he said, “I’m alright. Don’t worry. I never faint when I’m alone.” So, I went to fix our supper. Going to bed and saying goodnight later, he said his head was bad.’

The next day. ‘Krishnaji’s head is better but he is still in some pain. The trust deed for the new Krishnamurti Trust in Madras came, the entity formed to receive and function in Vasanta Vihar as a result of the court case against Rajagopal in Madras. Krishnaji signed it; we went to the bank to have it notarized, and mailed it to Radha Burnier, who was one of its trustees now. Then, we took a beach walk. It was beautiful after a small .15 inch rain in the night. Krishnaji was tired so we returned. We got a cable from Balasundaram that his hepatitis makes his coming to the U.S. impossible.’

February twenty-fifth. ‘I worked at the desk all morning. In the afternoon, there was a meeting of all the trustees except Alan K. Krishnaji also saw Rusch and Carey Smoot. We enlarged on Monday’s decisions. Tea afterward. Krishnaji had a stomachache after lunch, but felt better later.’

On February twenty-sixth there’s almost nothing. ‘I spend almost all day at the desk. We waxed the grey Mercedes, then we walked over to see Amanda and Phil.’

February twenty-seventh. ‘We left at 11 a.m. for Ojai in the green car, Krishnaji driving. Along ZumaBeach, he asked, “Have you any paper?” I found a scrap in my bag and wrote what he said. “A strange thing happened this morning. I was sitting quietly, a sort of meditation, and suddenly, there was absolute silence, a withdrawal of everything, and it was like death; there was this body sitting quietly and this truth of not existing anywhere; complete death. And if I hadn’t felt, by Jove, this is getting too far, I don’t know what would’ve happened. It was absolute nothingness. It felt as though, if that state continued, the body would die. There would be an end of everything.”’

‘Then, I asked, “Was it similar to the times on a walk alone when you felt like going away?”’

‘Krishnaji replied, “It was much more intense this morning.”’

‘I asked, “When did it happen?”’

‘Krishnaji said, “After I’d seen you.” Which was about 7 a.m.’

‘I said, “Before breakfast?”’

‘He replied, “Oh, long before breakfast. There was a period when the back of the brain was tremendously ventilated, as though taking deep breaths and being filled with air. It went on for some time.”’

‘“How long?” I asked.’

‘Krishnaji said, “May have been two or three minutes or more. I don’t know.”’

‘I asked, “When you felt it was getting too much, was it then instantly out?”’

‘Krishnaji replied, “Oh, instantly out.”’

‘“What do you think it is?” I asked.’

‘He said, “I’ve had it before, but it was in the sense of going away, withdrawing is the wrong word. It was absolute stillness. I think it has to do with what happened in the brain, the expanding, getting ventilated, really air going into it: a slight strain, as though a new fresh brain had been put into it. It sounds so damn silly.” Then he laughed. “A totally uncontaminated…”’ I didn’t finish the sentence.

‘He drove in silence after that for a ways, and I watched the ocean for a while: then I tried to describe what is for me the wholeness of seeing, which is somehow with all the senses. Color, its depth, the line and movement are felt not only in the eyes but with the body and it comes when there is no thought going on. It is the same with listening to music, to wind, to sea, to a voice. Krishnaji listened carefully and seemed to understand and say I was right. We drove past the posts by the school entrance. Carey Smoot had stained them darker; they were’ [laughter in voice] ‘less intrusive. At the cottage, there was a mad, nasty telegram to Krishnaji from Patricia Gilbert, in New York.’ Patricia Gilbert was a woman who used to come to Saanen and I spent wasted hours trying to persuade her that Krishnaji didn’t want to marry her. ‘The telegram was venomous. Erna and Theo lunched with us, and we walked around the block.’

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[1] This is degrees in Fahrenheit, which is 7.22 degree Celsius. Back to text.

[2] This was not to be a school, but rather what would later become known as an adult study center. Back to text.

[3] The Krishnamurti Foundation of America had received Pine Cottage as part of the settlement with Rajagopal, so legal arrangements had to be made for Mary to build on to Pine Cottage and have use of it as though it were her property while at the same time ensuring the property would for Krishnaji, should she pre-decease him, and that it would eventually go to the Foundation. Back to text.

[4] There is further discussion of this in at least one later interview. Back to text.

[5] Mary is indicating a small area just to the left of the front door. Back to text.